Breast Augmentation: What You Need To Know

A breast augmentation is a very personal choice for every woman. Many women have been thinking about it for years prior to going under the knife. Women from all different walks of life are interested in breast surgery, so there’s no ideal time. The ideal time is when you feel ready.

The first step is finding a surgeon you feel confident working with. Here’s a roadmap of things to consider prior to getting a breast augmentation:

1. Choosing the right size

Surgeons usually talk in “cc,” not exact bra size. As a rough estimate, each 200cc translates to about one cup size increase for smaller bras (32 or 34 bands). For larger band sizes, more volume may be needed to increase the cup size. Keep in mind, every bra manufacturer is different. A C-cup bra purchased at Victoria Secret is not the same as a C-cup bra from Sears.

You and your surgeon should discuss the right size to match your goals. Some surgeons have you try on implants in the office with a soft bra to get a size gauge, while others use an imaging system to help visualize how you’ll look after surgery. Most surgeons will offer a range of sizes that match your body, but leave the final decision up to you. You may need two different sizes if you have significant asymmetry between your breasts.

2. Silicone or saline?

Each type of implant has its advantages. Silicone implants feel more natural, and the rippling is less visible in thin patients. Saline implants are cheaper, and implant deflation is much more easily detected. Keep in mind, silicone implants are only FDA-approved for patients 22 years and older.

3. Will I have a scar?

Yes. A “scarless” breast augmentation is more a marketing term than a surgical reality. Whenever the skin is cut, there will be a scar that fades with time. However, where your scar is placed is a discussion between you and your surgeon. There are four ways to place a breast implant: from the breast crease, hidden in an armpit crease, through the belly button, or through the areola. Each technique has its advantages and disadvantages, but the armpit or belly button approach avoids scars directly on the breasts.

4. Need a lift?

Some patients with more ptotic breasts may also need a lift with their implants. Breast ptosis, or sagging breasts, may be caused by aging, breast feeding, or significant weight loss. A breast lift creates a more perky breast shape and more youthful nipple position. A breast lift may be done before, at the same time, or after a breast augmentation.

5. Can I use my own fat for augmentation?

Yes. Fat grafting is a technique used to remove fat from an unwanted area on your body, such as the abdomen or thighs, and placed into your breasts for enhanced volume. Some patients want only their own fat injected into their breasts, without a breast implant. While this is a technique offered by some surgeons, the downside is that you’ll lose roughly have the fat grafted over time. Other patients can benefit from a small amount of fat placed strategically in the cleavage area, along with a breast implant. This is ideal for patients with a broad chest and little natural cleavage.

6. What do I do next?

Contact a Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon (hyperlink to set up a consultation. Make sure you find a surgeon who listens to your needs, inspires confidence, and shows results that are similar to your goals.